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7 growth areas in RP, according to foreign investors

April 21, 2010

By TJ Besa First Posted 13:26:00 04/15/2010

MANILA, Philippines—Agribusiness, business process outsourcing, creative industries, infrastructure (airports and seaports, road and rail, power and water), manufacturing and logistics, mining, and tourism, medical travel, and retirement will frontline the country’s drive for robust investment, foreign investors said in a forum.

At the briefing on “Seven Big Winners: High Growth Sectors for Investment and Jobs” of the Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines, John Casey, president of the Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce, said the joint chambers is committed to creating a “higher standard of life” for Filipinos which would result from higher foreign investments.

The joint chambers’ goal for the next decade is to help the country create 10 million new jobs and to produce $75 billion in foreign direct investments, Casey said.

For his part, Dr. Federico Macaranas of the Asian Institute of Management forecast that 2011 will bear more intense competition for foreign direct investments within Asia, which would continue to experience the largest growth even in the face of limited global investment.

John Forbes, senior adviser for the Investment Climate Improvement Program, said the Philippines should be able to take advantage of this situation. “The Philippines is located in a region currently with the highest economic growth in the world,” and the country may be able to benefit from this by employing strategies used by Asia’s most dynamic economies, he said.

Forbes said these strategies include fully exploiting the world economy, maintaining macroeconomic stability, mustering high rates of saving and investment, as well as having a committed, credible, and capable government.

To help promote foreign investments into the country, AIM’s Macaranas said investors must have an understanding that the Philippine investment environment is chaotic so that they can respond accordingly with appropriate strategies.

Macaranas also called for the implementation of the Philippine Investments Promotion Plan (PIPP), which seeks to double investments from overseas by 2014, as well as more public-private partnerships.

Given that the joint chambers’ recommendations will only create an impact if the next administration considers them, the foreign businessmen’s organization said the next president must be a “true visionary, have the capability to implement, and recognize the importance of foreign investments.”

The next Philippine president must also make “stability of the business environment” a priority, said Julian Payne, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The joint chambers noted that poor governance, lack of political will, and corruption were the barriers to improved inflow of fresh capital into the country.

Despite being a democracy, the Philippines’ economic situation is “regrettable” for the mismanagement of its resources, the organization said.

The Philippines is perceived to be among the most corrupt, currently ranking 139th in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.

The JFCP is composed of the American, Australian- New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese, and Korean Chamers of Commerce, as well as the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters.

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